Highly recommended, even for those who have already read the excerpts in the New Yorker. Fey is one of the funniest people...

BOSSYPANTS

One of the world’s cleverest comedy writers debuts with a frequently hilarious memoir.

Perhaps best known to mass audiences for her writing and performances on Saturday Night Live, Fey’s most inventive work is likely her writing for the critically acclaimed TV show 30 Rock, in which she stars alongside Alec Baldwin and fellow SNL alum Tracy Morgan. In typical self-deprecating style, the author traces her awkward childhood and adolescence, rise within the improv ranks of Second City and career on the sets of SNL and 30 Rock. The chapter titles—e.g., “The Windy City, Full of Meat,” “Peeing in Jars with Boys” and “There’s a Drunk Midget in My House”—provide hints at the author’s tone, but Fey is such a fluid writer, with her impeccable sense of comic timing extending to the printed page, that near-constant jokes and frequent sidebars won’t keep readers from breezing through the book with little trouble, laughing most of the way. Though she rarely breaks the onslaught of jokes (most at her own expense), she does offer an insightful section on the exhaustively analyzed concept of the “working mom,” which she finds tedious. (Even here, the author finds plenty of room for humor—not wanting to admit she uses a nanny, Fey writes, “I will henceforth refer to our nanny as our Coordinator of Toddlery.”) Fey may not sling a lot of dirt about her many famous co-stars in Second City, SNL and 30 Rock, but her thoughts on her geeky adolescence, the joys of motherhood and her rise to TV stardom are spot-on and nearly always elicit a hearty laugh. Even the jacket copy is amusing: “Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.”

Highly recommended, even for those who have already read the excerpts in the New Yorker. Fey is one of the funniest people working today.

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-05686-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2011

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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